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X-POSITION Week 27: Christopher Yost & Craig Kyle

by  in Comic News Comment
X-POSITION Week 27: Christopher Yost & Craig Kyle
“X-Men” #205 on sale this week

"Messiah CompleX" is all about the hunt for a new mutant birthed into the Marvel Universe. Various parties are interested in this baby, including the Marauders, the Purifiers and of course the X-Men. The child means different things to each of these groups, and for a faction within the X-Men — the students of the Xavier Institute — the baby symbolizes something very special indeed: more mutants.

Writers Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost chronicle the adventures of the X-students in "New X-Men," and will be writing the new “X-Force” series that begins after "Messiah CompleX" concludes next year. The writers also drew the short straw and are our lucky guests for this week’s X-POSITION.

As mentioned in our last edition, there was no time to gather questions from our dear readers due to the Thanksgiving holiday in America. However, I did my best to ask those things which I though you would want to know. Also, I was able to sneak in one question that I received in abundance from you folks. And what was that question? Read on to find out….

Let’s start this X-POSITION with some "X-Force" questions. We now know the team is formed during the "Messiah CompleX" crossover. Whose idea was this?

CHRISTOPHER YOST: The idea for the new "X-Force" was definitely mine. Craig, Nick [Lowe,] Axel [Alonso]; they were all at a bar, I think, discussing "Power Pack."

Truthfully, X-Force rose organically out of the crossover; they were definitely a natural progression of the story. Walking into the X-Summit, "X-Force" wasn’t even a thought. But as the crossover story points started emerging, the team formed and the book seemed like a natural.

CRAIG KYLE: There will be a lot of fallout from "Messiah CompleX" and this team is a part of that. When Chris and I first heard about this team in the summit, we immediately fought for the chance to write it. Lucky for us, Axel and Joe [Quesada] agreed.

“X-Men” #205 variant cover by J. Scott. Campbell

When selecting the team members, what qualities did you look for? It’s interesting that none of these characters have been on a team together previously.

YOST: One of the great things about the crossover was that members from the different groups were being thrown together. The team serves a very specific purpose in the crossover: find the baby. But as the story progresses, their purpose becomes more lethal: find the baby, no matter what.

Claw Squad, Lupine Avengers – we’ve heard it all, but the four characters really do have very different personalities, and those differences will come out more and more in the series. And…those four characters are not the final roster of the team.

KYLE: What we love about the team is that it’s composed of members from each of the individual X-titles, and even though they have similar abilities, their personalities couldn’t be more different. Each of these characters’ beliefs, opinions, morals and motivations are radically different from one another. So you have a group of heroes who aren’t just at war with the bad guys, but individuals also at war with each other.

Sounds like things are going to be interesting. So which characters have surprised you, either with how much fun they were to write or the challenge they provided?

Page from “X-Men” #205

YOST: Wolverine and X-23 I think we’ve got a handle on. Warpath is still new to us, but Brubaker did a great job in "Uncanny X-Men" re-establishing him. Wolfsbane is going to be interesting. She does not belong in this group…but after the first arc, Wolfsbane’s entire world is going to change.

KYLE: X-23 is hard but I love writing her, duh. Wolverine is always great and this is the most time we’ve spent with him in comics. I always like writing bad guys; they’re my favorite characters to work on. I just love trying to convince the readers that these guys have a valid reason for doing such horrible things to innocent people. Warpath is tricky and so is Wolfsbane, but Chris has a knack for getting the characters on track so we’re good on this group so far.

Every member on this team has enhanced senses (particularly smell). I apologize in advance for this question, but…will they ever solve the mystery of "he who smelled it, dealt it?"

YOST: There’s no mystery there. Wolverine dealt it.

KYLE: Sounds like we have a Gambit crossover in our future…

Cajun food can be rough on the digestive system.

Page from “X-Men” #205

The X-Men have always needed to maintain a certain image in the public eye due to public opinion about mutants. I assume X-Force isn’t under any such restriction. However, as is said over and over, "heroes don’t kill." Will this still apply? And aside from Logan, if they do kill, how could that not change them?

YOST: That’s a tough one. Wolverine has killed, is he any less of a hero? X-23 has never considered herself a hero. X-Force are not the X-Men, and as we know, ‘lines will be crossed." This team is going to be put in positions that will make them all question everything.

KYLE: These guys aren’t heroes, they’re evolution. The terrors and threats facing mutantkind have grown exponentially over the years and now they have been pushed to the brink of extinction. X-Force had to come about if mutants were to have any chance of survival. Screw right and wrong, history defines heroes by who wins!

Can you say who is leading X-Force yet? Wolverine has been a field leader before, but typically he has never been the one to lead a team. Is he the de facto leader? Or is he taking his marching orders from someone else?

Page from “X-Men” #205 (dialogue removed for spoiler purposes)

YOST: Wolverine is the team leader. And he’s not particularly happy about it, and the dynamic between him and Cyclops (who is very much part of the book) will be fun to play, almost a reversal of their roles.

KYLE: Well, Chris blew my surprise but yeah, it’s Logan. He’s great for this role because he doesn’t want it, at least not in the way it’s given to him. Forcing Wolverine to lead such a conflicted group of X-Men puts him in situations he’s spent most of his life avoiding. I think people will like how Logan handles his new role and how the team handles him in return.

Is "X-Force" going to be a series of small "as needed" missions? Or is there an overall goal the team is working towards?

YOST: There will be small, intimate missions, and then there’s going to be things that start small and get very, very big. Like for instance, issues #1-6.

KYLE: This series’ stories are broken up into complex six-issue arcs that will build to a much large saga over the next couple of years. Everything that happens in this run happens for a reason. Also, many events and characters that affected our previous series will follow our heroes into this new journey…none of which makes their lives any better.

Page from “X-Men” #205

Do you two feel you are "in a groove" with artist Clayton Crain yet? Have you tailored your writing in any way to suit his strengths, and if so, how?

YOST: We do try to play to Clayton’s strengths by giving him awesome things to draw. He’s good at that. And blood. And people getting stabbed in the head.

KYLE: We do our best to inspire the artist without getting in their way. So far we have had a lot of success with our previous collaborations, and from what we’re seeing from Clayton, our luck is continuing.

Moving on to "New X-Men," it appears that Armor will be joining them during the crossover. Can you tell us if she’ll be staying with them? She hasn’t seemed to have had much interaction with the kids before this (even though she was a student at the school). Were either of you even aware of her as a character prior to Whedon’s "Astonishing" arc?

YOST: She’s a student at the Institute, and thus a "New X-Man." Just because some no-name junior writer is using her in another book doesn’t mean she’s not ours.

KYLE: It’s nice to add new blood to the mix and not have it come out of a dead student’s body. As for her future with the team, that’s top secret.

While the New X-Men did take down Stryker, were they not aware that the Purifiers were still operating? It surprises me that the X-Men (both "New" and old) allowed this group to recuperate and gather their strength, especially considering how many students they killed. Why do you feel they haven’t kept up their pursuit of them?

Page from “X-Men” #205

YOST: They had taken down the leader and routed the invasion of the mansion, saving the lives of everyone there. The O*N*E took over, assuring them they’d be dealt with. Stryker’s church has a public face and a militarized private one. The X-Men can’t go after the public face, and they thought the private face was done. They were really, really, really wrong. But X-Men learn from their mistakes. Or they will soon.

KYLE: Sadly, these guys are a part of the X-Men’s lives now and I know we haven’t seen the last of them. The real problem is the X-Men don’t know enough about them to properly deal with this threat. They’ve seen that taking out one man doesn’t stop them, so now they need to know how big this group really is and understand exactly what they have planned — only then can they have any hope of stopping these guys for good.

The New X-Men recently got new costumes. What was this symbolic of? And now that they’re "labeled" X-Men, doesn’t that make them a bigger target to X-Men’s enemies?

YOST: They were already big targets, as seen in our first year. And our second. I like to think the uniforms showed they were united and committed to the X-Men, no matter what. After all, they’d lost so much, this is them taking control of their destinies.

KYLE: From the moment we joined the book, these kids have been evolving into true X-Men and this is one more step in that transformation. They still have a ways to go, but after "Messiah CompleX" people will truly understand how far they’ve come.

Page from “X-Men” #205

Cyclops told the New X-Men to sit and wait until needed. They’re choosing not to do this. Wouldn’t this indicate that they aren’t ready to be X-Men? Then again, the X-Men have a long history of not doing what they’re told.

YOST: No bones about it, Surge is making a mistake. She’s a teenager. But this mistake will change her and her team forever.

KYLE: They’re teenagers and they’re acting like teenagers. You also have to remember the last time they didn’t listen to the X-Men they defeated Nimrod and saved Forge’s life. Unfortunately, you don’t always win when you take these kinds of emotional risks. Although, I’m with Surge on this one.

David (Prodigy) has his powers back…sort of. I find it interesting that he chooses to stick around the mansion even though he’s no longer a mutant. He doesn’t even really seem to have any close emotional attachment to the other students. Why wouldn’t he leave? Can’t he just go join the Initiative now?

YOST: There’s a long history of humans that stick up and sacrifice everything for mutants. You don’t need powers to believe in the dream. And of course, him staying could be just to piss off Nori. He could join the Initiative, but Rockslide would just mock him.

KYLE: Just because David lost his powers, it doesn’t mean he’s not the same kid. Plus, he knows he can still be an asset to this team.

Speaking of David getting his powers back, the Cuckoos have also "messed" with Elixir’s powers as well. Isn’t anyone at the Institute going to get wise to this soon? How do you feel the teachers would view this?

Page from “X-Men” #205

YOST: I don’t imagine Cyclops and Emma are too happy about it, but what’s done is done. I’d say they know about Prodigy, but don’t know about Elixir. Beast may have his suspicions, though.

KYLE: Chris and I have known from the very beginning how great the kids can be, and choices like these showcase that potential. And every time the kids say @#$% the rules and let’s just do what feel right, they define our series and express who they are right now.

Just out of curiosity, did the Cuckoos essentially do what Emma said she could do to David in an earlier issue, i.e. make him remember all that he learns and keep it — which led to Emma showing David how he might destroy the world in doing that? Naturally, David can’t grow those abilities now though, correct?

YOST: Who’s to say they didn’t do it to just piss off Emma?

KYLE: Yeah, who said?

Loa and Elixir "hooked up." Was this a gesture of kindness, hormones, or a bit of both? And should we expect to see this again?

YOST: I think it was a genuine thing. They could die at any moment. Why not? And I’d like to see them hook up in every Marvel book. Just somewhere in the background, like Spider-Man swings by and there they are.

Page from “X-Men” #205 (dialogue removed for spoiler purposes)

KYLE: Since we joined the book, the kids have been getting killed or getting kinky. They’re teenagers, that’s what they do. Well, not the dying part, but you know what I mean. Now put them in a situation where there may be no tomorrow, and I assure you that all of their inhibitions go to the wayside.

Okay, one last question. I’ve gotten a ton of e-mail from readers asking why there was no "New X-Men" in Marvel’s February solicits. Can you comment on this? Maybe X-editor Nick Lowe can help you out!

NICK LOWE: There’s certainly a reason why "New X-Men" wasn’t solicited in February. There are casualties to "Messiah CompleX." Keep reading to find out what those causalities are. Also, and I’m just going to throw this out there, just because you read or see something in solicits, doesn’t mean it’s 100% what’s going to print.

And that closes out another X-POSITION. Next week, we return to our almost regular schedule. Due to the fact that books won’t be delivered until this Thursday (thanks again to Thanksgiving), you will have until Friday to e-mail mequestions for next week’s get-together.

As for who will be answering said questions, it will be none other than Mike Carey, whose "X-Men" #205 arrives in stores this week. So think of a few quality queries, put them into an e-mail with "X-Position" in the subject line, and send them my way.


X-POSITION Week 26: Peter David

X-POSITION Week 25: X-Editors

X-POSITION Week 24: Ed Brubaker

X-POSITION Week 23: Axel Alonso & Nick Lowe

X-POSITION Week 22: Christopher Yost

X-POSITION Week 21: Peter David






X-POSITION: “X-Force” & “Cable” Special Edition















X-POSITION: The Beginning …

Now discuss this story in CBR’s X-Men forum.

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